The Vampire Narcise Prologue

Part I: Revolution


Romania 1673 The Estate of the Voivodina of Moldavia

He couldn't take his eyes off her.

She was so beautiful, with her sparkling amethyst-sapphire eyes and swirl of dark hair. Her skin, so pure and perfect, alabaster and rose. Her neck, graceful and slender; her curves, so lush and feminine.

And her gowns...he envied her the gowns, too. The slide of silk that would be so blissfully erotic over one's skin. The brush of fox and mink trimmings, sensual against the belly or cheek, the gentle tug of a train catching along the cobbled stones beneath her slippered feet.

The laces and brocades, the gemstones sewn into the fabric of layer upon layer of skirts, the embroidery and ribbons. The weight of the clothing-it would make one feel like a doll, like a jewel to be coveted. A gift to be unwrapped-like the little nesting blocks he used to play with-from the heavy, beaded and bejeweled overskirts, to the frothy and light chemise and layers of underskirts, to the whale-boned lacings that turned her torso into such a curved, lovely package. What would it feel like to be trussed up so enticingly?

The elegant gloves, a tradition from Paris brought here to the deep, cold and dark mountains of Romania, made her hands appear slender and delicate. A bracelet glittered gold and silver on her gloved wrist; rings sparkled. Her fingers fluttered becomingly near her face as she bent to smile and chatter with the crowd of men around her.

He swelled with love and affection for his sister-for how could anyone resist such perfection? She was exquisite. Lively. A goddess of light and laughter and beauty.

And of course, she knew it.

She drew the men in, she coaxed with her eyes and teased with her jests. Her body moved with unconscious eroticism, her eyes lit with just the right bit of naivete, her shoulders, bare, ivory, shadowed by the delicate curves of collarbone and throat. Her movements, graceful and smooth.

The men fawned and praised, their eyes hot and wanting. Strong, broad shoulders strained the broadcloth of their coats, bronzed, elegant throats above white or black shirts. Firm, muscular hands and powerful thighs encased in breeches that outlined every masculine attribute, and heavy, solid boots that slid and held firmly when mounted on a horse. These were men.

And here was Cezar. Pale. Slender. His hands too big, his brows too heavy, his shoulders too narrow. His thighs seemed like sticks when he sat on a horse, and his face...spotted and a bit pasty, even for his Romanian heritage.

His jaw still ached on occasion where it had been broken two years ago by a group of other young men when he was twenty, and it had healed improperly so that he had the added indignity of a faint lisp. From the same event, he'd acquired a slight limp.

He was Cezar: the second son of the most trusted confidant of the voivode, overlooked or scorned by men and women alike-even on the occasion of his brother's wedding to the eldest daughter of the most powerful ruler in Romania.

But even she, the wealthy, beautiful offspring of the ruler of Moldavia, couldn't hold a candle to Narcise. Even on the occasion of her wedding, the bride couldn't maintain the attention that inevitably slipped to her new sister-by-law.

Narcise was incomparable.

And Cezar, as he had since he first set eyes on his younger sister, both loved and loathed her with deep, abiding passion.

He wanted to kill her...and yet, he wanted to be her.

And that was why, as his fangs-still so new and uncomfortable in his mouth-slid free, filling the inside of his lips like a mouthful of potatoes, he settled into the shadows. Unnoticed. Watching. Waiting. Planning.

Soon, all of this would be his. All of them who laughed at him, who beat him, who scorned him...they would all worship him and cower before him.

They would look at him with hot, lustful eyes.

And his beautiful sister would become his pet.

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